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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  February 29, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EST

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that's it for us. thanks for watching, erin burnett outfront starts now. >> breaking news, at least nine people are dead after multiple tornadoes swept through the midwest and one of the hardest hit towns, harrisburg, illinois. the mayor of that city joins us live and we talk to those who lost loved ones in the devastation across the midwest. also new developments in the ohio school shooting. we learned important information about the alleged shooter, tj lane's past. we have that for you. let's go "outfront." i'm erin burnett. out front, breaking news in the midwest. death and destruction, more severe weather tonight. a series of tornadoes ripped through five states, starting
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early this morning, leading a path of destruction in their wake. here is what we know at this moment. nine people so far confirmed dead. 100 are injured. more than 300 homes have been damaged or destroyed today. the twisters touched down in kansas, missouri, kentucky, illinois, and indiana. harrisburg, it hit the town just before 5:00 a.m. this morning. eric gregg said despite the loss of life and praurptoperty, his will endure. the images are stunning and disturbing. can you tell me when you found out about this? what you heard this morning when you woke up to this? >> well, actually, this morning, the alarm was going off, sirens were going off about ten till 5:00. i woke up, got my family up. i went outside and was trying to
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assess where the tornado was coming at. we had heard it was imminent, and it was just a very eerie feeling. actually, the wind calmed, where i live at in the northern part of the city. it got very quiet, and during the sirens, you could hear the roar, and it was just a very eerie moment for me and my family. and immediately, the radios started going off saying the tornado was on the ground, reeking havoc on the southern part of the community, and my son and i got into the vehicle and came out here. we were here on the site within about 20 minutes of the tornado coming through. and it was just absolute devastation. and this is just truly been a horrific day in harrisburg, illinois. the outpouring of support from our governor, from agencies, both federal, state, and local, has been tremendous.
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local communities have stepped up to help us today. that's just something that i'm so gracious and thankful for, that everyone has come to the rescue of harrisburg, illinois, today, and hey speak s volumes about who we are in the midwest. >> i'm sure as you were driving there, what was going through your head is how many people might have died or were injured. obviously, people have died. have you accounted for everyone? do you know exactly how many people harrisburg has lost? >> we lost six of our citizens today. we lost two women and four men, and we're just -- it's a miracle that we didn't lose many, many more. it's heart breaking that we have lost the six that we did lose. this was an f-4 tornado with 170-mile-per-hour winds, so it was devastating. and certainly a horrific day in the history of harrisburg, illinois. this is the worst event we have ever had in this community.
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>> and it seems like when you were saying what happened was, as a mayor, you went out. you didn't stay home. you went to the scene as you heard the alarms. >> well, i like to think that i represent a people that we're all alike. we don't run away from trouble. we run to it and see what we can do to help. that's what has happened today. all hands on deck. i cannot begin to thank all of the people, all the city workers that have been at this and will be at this for days come. all of the emergency personnel, and all of the community that have pitched ip, all of the neighboring communities. the neighboring community rocky james, the mayor there, he immediately sent his staff, his people to the city. they were here within the hour. we assembled an army to try to deal with this devastating event here in harrisburg today. we're getting our hands around it. we're going to make sure everyone is safe and those that have been displaced, they have a place to stay tonight. they're going to be taken care of, have food, water, whatever
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they need. this is a community, and this is an area that takes care of their own, and we're definitely going to rise to the occasion. we will rebuild this, and we will be back. you get knocked down, we're the kind, we believe in getting back up and fighting hard to come back. that's what we're going to do. our hearts are broken for those that were lost and injured, and we ask that everyone prays and keeps us in their thoughts and prayers not only today but in days ahead. >> let me ask you about the warning system. some people may be surprised that there are warning systems and are skeptical whether they work. do you think it worked? do you think it saved lives in harrisburg? >> most definitely. it definitely saves lives. the warning system was going off here several minutes before the tornado actually hit. i talked to eye witnesses out here in the area where it came through. and they said that they did hear,io ago, they heard the sirens going off, they heard the tornado coming, and they did
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have time to take shelter with their loved ones. it saves many live, but it's unfortunate during the time of the morning that the tornado came through, people aren't talking on their cell phones, not watching television, not listening to the radio. therefore, the communication system we're so accustomed to in our daily hours in the daylight hours, didn't play into this at night. it's heart breaking that we lost loved ones that we probably would not have lost if this would have been at a different time of the day. >> mayor gregg, thank you very much. the best of luck. i know you're a mayor, also a marketing executive. you are putting a lot aside to do this. thank you for coming on. >> the tornado that ripped through illinois was an ef-4. you heard the mayor rougher to that. that's the second stronger tornado on the scale, and the speed range, 166-200 miles per hour. this one, as you heard the mayor refer to, clocked in at 170
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miles per hour. a path of destruction can be seen from kansas to kentucky. this man, you'll see, was in his trailer home in greenville, kentucky, when the tornado hit. >> and i got up and tsand took steps off the couch, and me and the two dogs i had, and the trailer started rolling down the hill. you can see what's left. and after i rolled five times, i mean, i can remember everything about it. i was -- once it hit the ground on the fifth time, i saw daylight, and i was sitting up against the stove down there, just leaned up with my back, like i was silting in a chair. joy to be here, i don't know why. i don't know how i'm here. no doubt. good lord just didn't call me is all i know. wasn't my time. >> well, residents in
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harrisburg, illinois, as we were telling you, six of them died. four men and two women. many are still in the process of digging out. >> unbelievable. i can't believe the measure of damage it did to this building. it's like there was no structure and it just took it completely out. as you can tell, it's total devastation. i'm not understanding, all the way through this whole area, i'm just glad it happened at night and no one was at work. this would be horrible for people to have been in the building when this happened. >> the tornado that came through harrisburg was as wide as two football fields and leveled a strip mall and tore the walls off a hospital in addition to destroying hundreds of homes. cindy webster is the red cross coordinator in illinois. she's helping the displaced and injures. she's with us. given what we have seen and heard with the hospital, do you have the ability to take care of people who need help? >> absolutely. we geared up as soon as we got
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the call this morning at 6:30. we opened the shelter at 7:00, and it's open there for people to come to safety tonight and stay there. they can also get food there and our crisis counselors are there as well as a nurse. >> how did you mobilize so quickly? i think many people will watch this and say the alarms go off at 5:00 a.m., and here we are 14 hours later, and you have food and medical care and shelter. it's incredible how quickly that could have happened. >> well, we had red cross volunteers on the ground that live here in this community. just right outside, so they were the first two ladies that opened up the shelter. that helped. and they're all trained. our shelters are predesigned, so we already know kind of depending on where the disaster is, what shelters we'll use. we can call them and say i need your shelter. they'll be there in an hour.
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a lot of it is preparedness and preplanning. the same thing with the trailers that had the caught cots and b in it. >> harrisburg is a city of 9,000 people. how many people do you have in shelters tonight? >> right now, we had 12 that were registered. today, people wanted, especially after a tornado, they want to try to salvage as much as they can. you know, the precious photo albums and that you can't replace. and those type of things. so tonight, later on, they will start coming in. which is about the way it happens in a tornado like this. so at midnight, we take another count to see how many ends up there after 8:00. >> thank you very much. we appreciate it. >> you hear about the devastation in harrisburg. but this went through five states. and the tornado season itself usually begins in march.
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this particular storm system we're seeing today is wreaking havoc as it continues to make its way across the country towards the east coast. there are people at risk of being affected or are seeing the storms. chad myers is here with the latest. how unusual is this that this is so -- a few days before march and mhow strong? >> typically, you'll get storms in february. maybe not ef-4 tornadoes with those storms. march is the battleground. when winter finally has to move away. summer has to move up. and when that warm and cold bump into each other, that sub-spring saying we want to push you back and trying to push the cold air back up into canada, that's when the clash happens and the clash causes storms. causing tornadoes. from philadelphia down to d.c., we're seeing showers, a little thunder, but not severe tornadic weather. we have boxes from western virginia to mississippi.
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that's where the tornadoes may happen tonight. let me tell you this, i'm not going to scare anybody with this, but last night wasn't all that unusual. it really wasn't a very unusual night. 10, 15 tornadoes on the ground, and for a march day, night, that's not that much. i want you to figure out here, here is the town of harrisburg, 9,000 people, about a mile and a half wide, about a mile and a half tall. let me zoom you out and show you what would have happened had this tornado been one half of a mile left or right. there are miles and miles of farmland both ways, 50 miles both sides of this town. there's just farmland. farm std farmsteads may have been hit, but not cities. towns got in the way of the tornadoes that are typically not in the middle of towns. so branson got in the way, and harrisburg got in the way. an ef-4 that runs through a big farm field, knocks over some irrigation wells, a couple
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things, the cows run away, that's it. we don't have weather like this, a night like this with coverage on cnn, once out of every 20 times this will happen, it happens tonight when a town literally gets in the way. >> wow. amazing perspective. thank you very much, chad. we appreciate it. referring to branson, missouri, the mayor is going to be with us in moments. more of our breaking news coverage of the tornado that struck through the midwest. medical centers, churches open. helping communities through the crisis. we're going to branson, another community that has been devastated. the mayor with us, live. also, the teen in ohio accused of a school shooting. new information tonight about what was in his juvenile background. we're going to share that with you and talk to the relatives of one of the victims. [ male announcer ] this is lawn ranger -- eden prairie, minnesota.
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well, the weather service sent sent out a storm warning alert as early as 4:30 in the morning, most people were sound asleep, including caleb. he received a call from the alarm company that monitors the company where he works. at first, he thought the alarm company was calling about a break-in, but the storm is now c gone. caleb is out front tonight. thanks for taking the time. tell me what happened this morning. >> i was sitting oon the couch with my girlfriend and our newborn, and i got the call from the alarm company, and they said there had been a reported break in or sorts, so i rushed to town, and i had heard the
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thunder and everything. didn't think it was that serious. that the alarms hadn't sounded in elduraido yet. i waited and then drove to harrisburg as fast as i could. i could see the lightning in the background. when i pulled into town, there were cops, ambulances flying by me. really didn't know what to think. when i pulled into walmart, i saw walmart standing, but when i looked to the right at the complex, it was gone, and i was at a loss for words. >> what went through your head when you saw that? and i'm sure one of your thoughts was that it could have happened when you were there. >> it definitely could have happened during the daytime. i don't want to stay that i'm thankful that it happened when it did because a lot of people weren't informed and warned it was coming. more breath taking was seeing the devastation behind the store that was behind walmart, i know
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a lot of people that live back there, and it is just a sad sight to see. you see it on tv and think it's never going to happen to your town until it does. it's just a gut check is what it is. it's unbelievable. >> are your friends that you knew in that area, your relatives in the town, accounted for and okay now? >> as far as i am aware, everyone i knew back there, i have heard from or heard they're okay. so i'm definitely thanking god for that tonight. >> all right, well thank you very much, caleb. we appreciate you taking the time, and glad that you're safe and sound. branson, missouri, was one of the first towns hit this morning, just before 1:00 a.m. a twister ripped through the downtown area. this is a country music resort town. if you're not familiar with it, it's in southwest missouri, and more than 30 people in branson were injured. on the phone, the branson mayor,
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tell me what happened to you and when you found out and whether the warning system worked in branson in. >> fortunately, it did work in branson. as you may know, we're fairly closejoplin, missouri, and our residents have been watching and paying more attention than we might have been years past. so we had watched the storms develop in the late afternoon, and our sirens went off in an appropriate time before the storm hit. i believe that saved many lives and kept people save. >> your city relies on tourism. i have seen numbers of $2 billion a year coming into your economy. that central area appears to be incredibly damaged. what does this do to branson coming into spring/summer is tourist season. >> we are a few weeks away twraum the start of our spring season. fortunately, while some of the images are quite disturbing and we have had some theaters and
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hotels damaged, the vast majority of the attractions such as silver dollar city and sight and sound theater and titanic are open for business and are undamaged or slightly damaged. we have been very blessed. >> that's certainly a city that is synonymous with tornadoes, not branson, but joplin. a fellow town in missouri. did anyone from joplin reach out to you today? >> they did. i heard just this afternoon that ten officers, police officers were coming over to help us this evening. kind of make certain that our areas were secure, and paying it forward. our fire department, where some of the first responders on the scene at joplin the night they were hit. they had such a loss of life, and it was such a tragedy for our state, and we have been fortunate while we have about 30 people who have had mild to moderate injuries, our tornado was not as severe, and certainly not as severe as mayor gregg's
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in harrisburg. >> thank you so much for coming outfront tonight. >> we have more breaking news coverage of the deadly storms across the midwest. we're joined by someone who lost the loved one in the ef-4 tornado. >> and the united states today made a deal with north korea. co. but with three kids, being home more really helped. man: so we went to fidelity. we talked about where we were and what we could do. we changed our plan and did something about our economy. now we know where to go for help if things change again. call or come in today to take control of your personal economy. get free one-on-one help from america's retirement leader.
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tornadoes moving across five states in the midwest today. we can tell you right now as the tornadoes are touching down in tennessee, we have dekalb county, tennessee, ten people have died in the outbreak of tornadoes today across the midwest as we have been reporting. in harrisburg, illinois, the hardest hit town, six people died today. four men and two women. with 170 mile an hour storm touching down. as the storms continuing to move eastward tonight. at least ten are dead after the series of tornadoes ripped through five states. tennessee is six.
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touching down in kansas, missouri, illinois, indiana, kentucky, and now tennessee. harrisburg, illinois, are the hardest hit, at least so far. they're a community of at least 9,000 people and was struck by a 170 mile ef-4 on the tornado ranking at 4:00 a.m. this morning. don lemon is in harrisburg. what are you seeing? >> it's unbelievable when you drive through. as you know, people have seen, in theseareas, when these events happen, you won't see damage for miles and miles and miles, and then you'll drive up on damage. i didn't see much on my drive from st. louis, but it was very windy. you have been doing some live shots. i want to get you as close as i can to this. i have been told that this sports you see, it's about a year old, a new complex. the huge building, the entire thing is destroyed. you can see the giant pillars
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that stand in front of the building, and check this out, to get this big cement thing over, the winds have to be going ferociously here. i'm going to show you around so you can see, it's going to be dark and light as well. look at the reporters and people here, lined up from all over the country, as we go back towards the satellites. that's one of the super walmarts, erin, that you see in small towns. that is closed. don't know what the extent of the damage is there, but imagine if it had been in the middle of the day when people were in this giant shopping center when that tornado rolled through here. again, i'm told this is a retail town and a medical town, and driving through here, it's an oasis in the middle of nowhere, for miles and miles, just farmland or just flat land all the way through. and then you get into these towns, you see a red light and you see these retail shopping centers and fast food joints and
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what have you. that's what we have here. the nearest town is a couple miles away from here, about five miles away, and it's a town of about 300 or 400. this town is the biggest town in this area, but look how it completely demolished this area. when the sun comes up, i'm sure they're going to find more damage as well, what they haven't foun already today. >> amazing. one thing you were talking about, the feeling you had when you driving in from st. louis, how things look normal and then you hit it. people were talking about the width of when the storm plowed through, about two football fields wide. is it like you see the damage and on the line, things are normal? >> yeah, listen, you know something had happened. you know when you're going through a storm system, turbulence today, rough air, then i got to st. louis, windy, rocky landing. and then as i'm driving on the interstate, you can see the 18-wheelers go back and forth. and i didn't get an suv, and
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they were swerving back and forth. and then when i got here, i said, where is it? then i noticed it was complete darkness because the red lights were out, street lights were out, where looked in the shopping center, saw the walmart and saw the satellite strucks and you could see the damage. i would say the damage i saw just as the sun was going down, it was a couple football fields wide, and just in one area. i would imagine it came through here and just sort of went specifically through certain areas. if you're a block or two over, you might not know anyothing ha happened. when you know this big sports center that is here that people come, when you no longer see that and you're from this town, you know something really terrible has happened. >> don lemon, thank you very much. appreciate don lemon reporting live from harrisburg. made me think of caleb, he parked in the strip mall and drove up today and the shock he saw when his store was gone. >> time now for the "outfront
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5." other stories we are covering tonight. first, helicopters fired on civilians in syria. the helicopters have flown over the city for days. this is the first time they have fired at people. shelling also targeted civilians in homs and at least 11 were killed with 12 killed in other parts of nation. the death toll over the past year over 7500. >> number two, north korea allowi allowing inspections. they're going to top uranium enrichment, and in exchange, they'll get food air from united states. there are facilities that are not covered in the deal. he added that the north koreans
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have run joint nuclear programs with the iranians. >> number three, a federal judge has rejected a mandate requiring graphic images on cigarette packages. the family smoking prevention and tobacco control act violates freedom of speech. as you see there, smoke infected lungs. >> number four, the economy in this country, faster than expected growth in the last three months of last year. the commerce department came out with a second smait, and they say that economic growth is 3% in the end of last year. they thought 2.8%. economists think the biggest driver of the upgrade was the revisions to household income and savinsavings. >> it's been 209 days since america lost its top credit rating, what are we doing to get it back?
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ben bernanke telling the house financial services committee it's a slow growth ahead. calling it far from normal. >> you heard don lemon reporting live from harrisburg, illinois. looking at some of the images out of the midwest, it's amazing that the death toll is not higher. the devastation in harrisburg, illinois, alone stretches the length of four football fields. as of right now, the death toll in the midwest stands at 10. pat quinn spoke to john king just a few moments ago. >> anytime you have a traumatic event like this, 175 miles per hour winds coming through your house and your stores, and you know, it's traumatic, people have to get back on their feet, say prayers that they recovered, and sort of hold each other. >> one person saying prayers tonight is lucas. he lost one of his close friends, jalen, when the tornado hit her apartment complex in
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downtown harrisburg. thajs for taking the time to talk to us tonight. horrible that your friend is among those who lost their lives today. how did you learn about her death? >> what was that? >> how did you learn about her death? >> oh, i was over at a friend's house and started receiving calls about 8:00 this morning. woke up, had plenty of missed texts, all kind of missed calls. been reaching out, trying to get ahold of family and friends ever since. >> we're looking at pictures of what you're seeing in harrisburg and also your friend. what can you tell us about her? >> well, i mean, she was always the smartest person, always top of the class, perfect grades. she was always a great friend, always meet you with a big smile. just easy to talk to, great to get along with. you know, we lost a little contact after high school, but every time i see her, it's a big
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hug, smile, you know, like we never missed out on a second. >> and what went through your head when you heard? you must have been shocked. it's one of those things, i can imagine, that you see pictures of on tv and happens to other people, but not you and not someone you know. >> right. you know, it's just been a whole day just full of shock, really. you don't want to believe it, and even when you do, it's still hard to wrap your mind around. my thoughts and prayers are with her friends and family. i wish everybody the best. >> thank you. well, mow of the breaking news coverage of the deadly tornado. the pastor of a church hit hard by today's storms joins us. and new information coming out about the teen accused of the deadly school shooting in ohio this week. like active head restraints, brake assist, and an enhanced accident-response system
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more on our breaking news tonight. death and destruction in the midwest after tornadoes ripped through five states. we reported one more storm represented death in tennessee. which brings the death toll to ten. harrisburg, illinois, as we have
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been reporting, was the hardest hit town. six reported deaths. pastor smith, thank you very much for being with us tonight. i know that you and your wife have a young son. your wife is pregnant. you have a baby coming in just a few weeks. what went through your mind as a husband, as a father this morning? >> well, we had the good fortune of staying with my in-laws last night in another town, out of concern for the storm, but certainly when we got to town, just shocked with everything that had happened. >> and i know that you lost a member of your congregation. we were talking to a friend of hers, lucas. jalen faerrell died today, what can you tell us about her and where she was when the storm came through? >> i know she was just a little ways from here, but what is glorious is not where she was this morning, it's where she is now. and we are -- one of the most
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encouraging stories i can give you from this whole thing is talking with her family. they want a song at her funeral that talks about praising god even through storms like this. it shows the incrkrecredible pon not just a general faith in something but faith in jesus christ. it's amazing to watch her family as they have suffered through this. >> how is the church itself and the rest of the congregation? is everyone else alive and uninjured as far as you know? >> as far as we know, i mean, a lot of relatives injured. some relatives that have passed away in the storm, but that's part of what we do, the body of christ, band together and mourn together and celebrate together. today is a day of mourning for our church. >> pastor smith, thank you so much. >> and there are new developments in the deadly school shooting in chardon,
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ohio. we have obtained the juvenile court records. the new documents so he's had troubles with the law in the past. he's confessed to opening fire in the cafeteria on monday. three students died, two were injured. martin savidge has the new reports. what did you learn? >> well, i mean, ever since we heard about the shooting hramp e rampage, we wanted to hear was there a juvenile record. is it a strong criminal past? make your own judgment. he was picked up on an assault charge for assaulting another juvenile, holding him in a headplock and punched him in the face. he pled guilty to disorderly cult. and he also has a traffic violation. that's what the records show so far. we have asked for more reports. we're waiting for the court answer on that. >> there are more records you're
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trying to get your hands on tonight? >> juvenile records, but then we have gotten access to records involving his parents. keep in mind that when he had his first court appearance on tuesday, neither hismot mother father were there. it's poignant and telling. the family historically when you look at the police records, the court doum documents, monam and dad had run ins with the law. the dad had an extremely violent encounter with a woman. in and out of jail, treated for depression and also attempted to commit suicide at some point. vileants seemed to have been in the tj lane household. >> thank you. joining us next is one of the families of the victims of the shooting. and there are some unsung heroes of disasters like these. ugh.
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five chardon high school students, three of them fatally, had been charged in 2009 with assault. newly obtained court documents by cnn's martin savidge said he put together male in a choke hold and punched him in the face. he confessed to opening fire on students in the cafeteria on monday. one of the victims was daniel parmertor. a 16-year-old who loves to ski and worked at the local bowling alley. gent gentlemen, thank you for coming out and talking to us at this terrible time for your family and your community. dominic, i don't know if you heard when we were talking -- >> thank you. >> thank you both. dominic, i wanted to start with you. these reports that we have obtained about tj lane that he put someone else in a choke hold, confessed to a lesser charge. when you hear this about his past, what do you think?
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>> well, actually, i never heard that until this moment. we had heard he's had problems in his life, and we all know some people have had problems in their life, but on the other hand, what occurred is uncalled for. it's disgusting. that's my feeling. we've all had some things happen in our lives that haven't been good, but we have to deal with them and mabe he wasn't able to. >> we also found out in these reports about tj's parents. again, highlight his mother and father were not there. of course, when he confessed. they have had a violent pass with each other, run-ins with the law, his father had attempted to commit suicide. does that impact how you feel or who you blame for what happened to your grandson? >> no. i think there's a lot of kids that go through things like
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that. that doesn't give them the right to kill other people. there's five families, including ours, that have been affected by this. no one has the right to shoot other people because they have had a rough life. >> they certainly don't. tell me a little bit about your grandson. we're hearing that he worked as a bowling alley. what was he like? >> danny was -- i'll use the term, he was like an angel. you may think, that's your grandson your rur talking about. i have other grandchildren and other families members i wouldn't say that about, but danny was that. he just was the most lovable kid. everybody, you know, there are over 100 people at the house the other night, and everyone is so positive about danny. and even before this tragedy,
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that was still danny. everybody loved danny. danny had that smile. he made other people smile. to me, that's danny. >> a beautiful thing. dominic, let me -- i want to play for the viewers, danny's parents, obviously, your chin, what they had to say about the last moments of their son's life. they were there before he died. >> they wouldn't let us see him. we insisted. we were want going to be denied not seeing our son. so five minutes later, they let us go see him. bloodied up, had tubes down his throat. >> he was just laying there. >> we're telling him, fight, dan. fight, fight. you can do it, buddy. come on, man. do it for us, fight.
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and we're holding him, and we told him we love him. we got to say we love him. >> dominic, i know that has to be incredibly terrible to hear. how is your family going to get through this? >> it's obviously incredibly terrible to hear for bob and us, it's terribly incredible. but we know it's worse for our kids. his son, my daughter, absolutely worse. it affects us, but to be honest, it can't affect us as bad as it will affect them for the rest of their lives. >> i want to ask each of you what you think is the right punishment. i know this is a hard question, but what do you think is the right punishment for tj? >> you know, we're not court people, obviously. but we have our feelings. and we have heard, you know, he
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will more than likely be tried as an adult, which he should be, 17, almost 18 years old. i don't think we're going to say what we feel punishment is or should be. i heard bob on another interview today, and our children say right now, our focus is on the feelings -- >> danny. >> the family and danny, who is gone, obviously. that's our feelings. not about him. i mean, you know, that will take care of itself. >> i feel that i have my feelings, which i'll keep to myself. but i'll let the court -- everything work out in the court of law. >> well, thank you both very much for coming on and talking about danny with us. outfront next, we have been showing you the community devastated wi the tornadoes today, but the people helping
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so it's a difficult day. tornadoes swept through the midwest destroying property and killing ten people. one of the areas hit the hardest was harrisburg, illinois.
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tonight, neighborhoods in ruins, hundreds injured, and six are dead. we spoke to the mayor, eric gregg, tonight. he's been on the job for less than a year, and he's supposed to be a part-time mayor. he took the job on in addition to a marketing job, but it's become a full time job. even before the disaster, this was the toughest job heench had, but he's continued to do it. he's promised to rebuild. when i spoke with him, i was reminded of mike wolften, the mayor of joplin, missouri. in may 2011, one of the most powerful tornadoes ever recorded destroyed one third of joplin and killed 131 people. yet when i spoke to the mayor, he was thankful that things hadn't been worse. >> i think we were terribly fortunate, even though you talk about the destruction and loss of life we did have, we could have easily had 1,000, maybe 2,000 deaths if the storm had
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veered south, hit our second hospital, our high school, the public school class was graduating. if they had their event at the high school, it was totally demolished. that could have been 1,000,000, 1,500 people there. >> it's easy to criticize our elected officials, but some of them particularly at the local level, are doing these jobs for no other reason than they want to make a difference. many of them make very little or no salary at all. the mayor of joplin had another job, too. they work multiple jobs and they still don't run away from trouble. as mayor gregg told us tonight, they run to it and see how they can help. it is unfortunate takes terrible tragedies like this to think about that. but mayors across small towns in the


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